News Roundup - 24th November 2021
Work is going on behind the scenes to re-open the White Lion at Broadwindsor as a community pub.
A steering group is meeting regularly to move the project forward. It comprises David Leader (chair), Susanna Newall, Sandra Burrows, Charles Ouin, Luke Pickering, Andrew Hookings, Chris Newall, John Heys, Margery Hookings, Fraser Hughes and Chris Edgerley.
Between them, group members have a wide range of skills and experience. We believe that securing the right deal with Palmers represents the best – and only – chance for the White Lion to re-open at the heart of our community. We want it to happen, and we know the community does too. We need to raise at least £30,000 to make it a reality.
Agreement with Palmers has been reached but not yet signed. We can’t tell you all that’s been happening because some of the detail is commercially sensitive. However, it’s our intention to publicise a summary of our meetings to keep you updated as best we can.
Save the White Lion, summary of meeting 18/11/21
Community Benefit Society application – because of changed criteria, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) turned down our application. It is not worth us appealing due to time, money and the FCA is unlikely to back down so we now need a new legal structure. This is likely to be a Community Interest Company. Investigations and communication continue. [This means the community pub is not likely to open until early 2022.]
Applicants – we are in contact with two sets of people who have applied to run the pub.
Business plan – This continues to be updated. Cash flow in the first year will depend on the starting date.
Grants and fundraising:
- It was hoped to hold two fundraising events before Christmas but these have been put on hold because of high covid rates locally. Local musicians are planning to stage a gig on Saturday 15 January 2022 at Comrades Hall in aid of the Save the White Lion fund, for which the committee is very grateful. Committee members will be on hand to run the bar and man the door.
- There has been a gradual decline in numbers at Comrades Arms, possibly because of covid, but the pop-up bar continues to raise money for the community pub campaign. [£1,750 so far.]
- Grant-making bodies need to know our legal structure before we can proceed with grant applications.
- We will need a public meeting to seek funding from the community. A certain amount of detail about the plans will be within the prospectus, along with display boards. The date of this meeting and the way forward hinges on the outcome of discussions about the legal structure of the community business.
- A Christmas card featuring an adaptation of John Iveson’s painting of the White Lion will be available for sale in packs of five for £2.50. These will be on sale at the shop. An initial print run of 500 was agreed.
There has been a constructive meeting with Palmers. Builders have been working recently on behalf of the brewery at the back of the pub.
Banner – Chris E has made enquiries re a large banner which will be purchased and placed in a prominent position once we go back to the community at a public meeting.
Tree lights in the Square – Palmers have agreed to a Christmas tree above the pub door.
Next meeting – the next meeting will be held once we have an update on the new legal structure to take the project forward.
Save the White Lion, summary of meeting 6/10/21
Community Benefit Society application – due to be incorporated within next 3 weeks. Share issue put to community (like the village did for the shop).
Business plan – final version almost ready. All payments need to be made by end of year 3.
Funding – seeking grant from Broadwindsor Group Parish Council. Applications to grant funding bodies identified as most likely to support project. Comrades Arms trading well, taking £1,200 in first four days. Two villagers planning two events in aid of Save the White Lion, in addition to regular discos where bar takings will go to pub fund. More details soon.
Yard of ale fundraising ‘thermometer’ to be placed in the Square.
Bank account – can be started only when we are a Community Benefit Society.
Job advert for manager/chef – not much response yet. Exploring other outlets.
Logo – new logo in consultation with Palmers. Original pub sign (pre-dating existing one) by George Biles will be displayed internally.
Refurbishment – ongoing discussions on updating interior and adapting layout for ambience, efficiency and increased number of covers. Kitchen left sparkly clean by Spike and Vikki. Now to cost kitchen equipment etc for business plan.
Timeline – end of October/early November – approach community on share issue.
Christmas/New Year – hope to be open.
Facelift for The White Lion
The White Lion is a hive of activity this week as a team from Palmers Brewery team give the pub an exterior facelift.
Doors, windows and fascia boards are being rubbed down and painted in preparation for the day when the pub reopens its doors.
Steering group chairman David Leader said: ‘It’s fantastic to see that Palmers are investing in the White Lion. All the outside woodwork is being cleaned, prepared and repainted. This will make a huge difference to the appearance of such a beautiful historic building which sits at the heart of our community. We are very grateful to Palmers.’
Yesterday (Tuesday 5 October), previous landlords Spike and Vikki handed in their keys as their tenancy came to an end and said a final goodbye to the place that was their home for nearly four years.
Through social media, Vikki said: ‘Thank you all for your support and wish you well for the future x.’
The couple are now running The New Inn at Blagdon on the Mendips.
Meanwhile, the Save The White Lion steering group is working hard behind the scenes to re-open and run the White Lion as a community pub.
Grant applications to various funding bodies are being submitted and a share issue is being prepared to be offered to villagers. More details soon – watch this space!
Could you run The White Lion at Broadwindsor?
Would you like to be at the heart of a truly special Community Pub Project in the beautiful place that is Dorset?
Applications are now open for a manager or management team.
What can you expect at The Comrades Arms?
You can expect a warm and cheery welcome, friendship and prices that won’t hurt your wallet.
Yes, the Comrades Arms is opening again on 1 October – and, this time, raising money to save the White Lion.
Back in 2017, when the pub was closed between landlords, the Comrades Arms in the Lewesdon Room raised a fair few pennies for the Comrades Hall – almost £2,000 in four weeks. And the bar was back for the World Cup in 2018 when villagers enjoyed football matches on the big screen.
So it seems only natural to open up the Comrades Arms to tide us all over until the White Lion roars once more.
It’s a place where locals can get together for a chinwag, a laugh and put the world to rights while enjoying a glass or two or real ale, fine wines and a range of shorts and soft drinks.
Organiser Andrew Hookings, who is assembling a team of volunteers to help run the sessions on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday lunchtimes, will be launching the £3 Club.
He says: “Customers will be able to drink from a range of beers, lagers and ciders at £3 a pint or a can, from a range of wines at £3 a glass or shorts and mixers for £3.’
And as the winner of the Comrades Arms pool competition in 2017, he’s looking forward to organising another competition and defending his trophy.
Fish and chips from Nat’s van on Tuesdays, regular quizzes and themed food nights look set to be a winning combination.
The team of volunteers is looking forward to welcoming customers with open arms at the Comrades Arms from Friday 1 October at 6pm.
Says Andrew: ‘It’s about friendship and community.’